Recently I had a blast working with my youngest client yet, a 9-year-old girl, on her closet makeover. Because her bedroom was the guest room, the closet functioned as a storage/pantry. The items were never removed when my client moved in. As a result, there were paper towels, holiday decorations, a vacuum cleaner, and many other Costco purchases stored next to this little girl’s clothes. Access to those items meant going into my client’s bedroom when she’s with her friends or studying. This was something I felt would definitely become a problem as she becomes a teenager and wants more privacy.
We started the session by talking about the issues she has with the current closet: folded and stacked clothes becoming unraveled, household items blocking her drawers and she’s unable to find what she needs. I explained to her the KonMari method, then began the joy-checking process. My client was very comfortable saying thank you to the items she placed in the bag to be donated. However, she also apologized to her mom before putting the clothes in the donation bag (her mom was not in the room with us). I asked her why, and she explained that because her mom bought it for her that she felt bad giving it away.
That guilty feeling is completely normal and is one of the main reasons why people have trouble letting go. I explained that her mom cares more about whether the clothes made her feel comfortable and confident wearing them, then keeping something that doesn’t spark joy anymore. For her to keep anything she won’t wear is more of a waste then allowing the clothes to have a second life elsewhere. (Note: When working with younger clients, I let the parent know to not go through the discarded items or put anything back into their child’s closet. This is to show trust and respect in a child’s decision so they can have confidence in themselves in learning what they like.) With those thoughts in mind, and learning to trust her feelings, my client was able to complete the process and felt good about her choices.
At one point her mom came in to see how we were doing. My client told her mom that she had put something in the bag that was too small that she once loved. Her mom offered to put it in a memory box, which made me a little bit nervous after 3 items went in the memories box after given that option. So I suggested we limit to only those truly special and meaningful to her. I also asked if she knows where the best memory box is kept. She immediately put her hands to her chest and said “your heart”. What a smart girl. I told her that our memories can continue to bring us joy, and it’s with you anytime, anywhere. Suddenly the memory box didn’t feel as necessary.
BEFORE: Girl’s Closet
In the 3 hours, we worked together. I showed her how to fold her clothes the KonMari way. She thought it was really fun and was excited to put away her own clothes. We put all the pajamas in a drawer. Her socks, underwear, and bathing suits in another. All the short and long sleeve tees in one. And all the pants and shorts in the lower drawer. Her dresses and skirts were hung and lined up from longest to shortest. And her furry vests, sweatshirts, and heavier long sleeves are also hung and sorted from darkest to lightest.
AFTER: Girl’s Closet
My client was so happy with the results, she was excited to invite her friends over to see the newly organized closet. Before I left I reminded her that the more she can show her parents that she is responsible enough to keep her closet nice and neat, the more they’ll trust her. I was so proud of what we have accomplished in the 3 hours, and she now has the skills that will benefit her for the rest of her life.
Stay tuned for part 2 when I return to help organize the other half of her closet to move the miscellaneous pantry stuff out.